New EAL curriculum: school implementation guide

This guide suggests steps for teachers and school leaders implementing the English as an Additional Language (EAL) curriculum.

About this guide

This guidance is for school leaders and individual teachers implementing the new English as an Additional Language (EAL) curriculum.

The steps in this guide are aligned with the FISO Improvement Cycle. They’re recommendations only, not requirements.

Planning and implementing the new EAL curriculum is a whole-school activity. Working collaboratively – supported by EAL teachers where available – will help schools plan and deliver teaching and learning that improves outcomes for their EAL students across all areas of the curriculum.

When preparing to put the new curriculum in place, schools could review:

  • their current EAL teaching programs against the EAL curriculum
  • how the EAL curriculum supports EAL students’ learning in all areas of the Victorian curriculum
  • how all teachers plan for and teach EAL students in their classes
  • what professional learning teachers may need to put the EAL curriculum in place.

Stage 1: evaluate and diagnose

When reviewing the existing curriculum to put the new EAL curriculum in place, you could consider:

  • how well your school is supporting EAL student learning
  • how aligned your school’s teaching and assessments are to the EAL curriculum.

The EAL curriculum describes the ‘what’ of teaching. Schools and teachers develop the ‘how’ in EAL teaching and learning programs. To do this effectively, it helps if you understand what EAL students need and what the EAL curriculum requires.

Actions may include:

  • assessing current student learning
  • understanding – or supporting teachers to understand – the new EAL curriculum
  • evaluating current EAL teaching and learning programs.

Assessing current student learning

Implementing a new curriculum has one purpose: improving student learning. You could start by assessing or analysing current EAL learning in your school or classes.

What does the available data say about the learning outcomes of EAL students?

For example:

  • Are EAL students progressing over time?
  • Are some EAL students, classes or cohorts progressing more quickly than others?
  • Is student progress consistent across the three language modes?
  • What are some areas of strength – and areas of development – for EAL students?
  • What level of growth would the school aim to see in its data? Would this vary for individual students or across the three language modes?
  • What does the data tell you about the effectiveness of your EAL programs?

Assess current EAL data

Look at any current EAL diagnostic assessments, formative assessments or summative assessments. These may be EAL-specific or mainstream assessments that EAL students complete.

If there is limited information on EAL student learning available:

  • prioritise collecting better assessment data that will support your teaching and learning program in Stage 2
  • review informal interactions with EAL students or examples of student work. Even with data from formal assessments, it’s important to use these other data points.

Where school leaders can find EAL data

School-level data about EAL student English language proficiency and learning growth is available from:

  • the Panorama dashboard – gives schools access to the Panorama School Dashboards, the School Information Portal and other performance reports
  • School Information Portal – two EAL student achievement reports by stage and mode reflect teacher judgements of student proficiency across modes
  • CASES21 report ST21905 – gives a history of teacher judgement data for individual EAL students for up to seven years.

Data coaching services can help you interpret and use school data.

Teachers may also have examples of student work and information from formative assessments or diagnostic assessments that you can use to understand learning progress.

If there is limited information on EAL student learning available, prioritise collecting assessment data in Stage 2.

Understanding the new EAL curriculum

To teach the curriculum effectively, teachers need to become familiar with it. School leaders can help teachers by making sure they have structured time and support.

The new EAL curriculum is accessible to all teachers, not just EAL specialists. It’s written in language that any teacher can understand. It supports teachers to build their knowledge of the curriculum content.

School leaders can involve the whole school in discussions about the EAL curriculum.


Evaluating current EAL teaching and learning programs

Two main questions to ask when evaluating current EAL teaching and learning programs are:

  • How well is the current EAL teaching and learning program differentiated to support EAL student learning?
  • How well is the current EAL teaching and learning program aligned to the new EAL curriculum?

Stage 2: prioritise and set goals

After completing the evaluation and diagnosis, you should have a better understanding of the current situation for EAL learners.

There may be things you want to change and improve while implementing the new EAL curriculum. Try prioritising the work that needs to happen first.


Start here if Stage 1 identified that you need to improve EAL assessments. It may be difficult to create a teaching and learning program without the right assessments in place to understand student learning and next steps. These may be diagnostic, formative, or summative assessments.

Pedagogical knowledge

With the new curriculum, some teachers may have new responsibilities for EAL teaching. Other teachers may want to improve their knowledge on how to best support EAL students.

Teaching plans

When planning an update to your teaching and learning program, what areas are most urgent? Consider the learning needs of EAL students in your classes with your analysis of the current plan’s alignment to the EAL curriculum. If there are many areas that don’t align, start with the areas that will support student learning the most.

Whole-school EAL approach

The new EAL curriculum is meant for all teachers. School leaders could consider how this changes the whole-school EAL approach. This may mean changing:

  • how teachers of EAL learners work together
  • who is involved in EAL planning
  • who has oversight of the EAL program.

Alignment to other school initiatives

School leaders could consider other school initiatives that may support parts of EAL curriculum implementation. These might be areas that can become quick wins, because there is already momentum.

For example:

  • if the school has recently implemented professional learning communities (PLCs), you could use these for teacher discussion of the new EAL curriculum
  • if the school has recently worked on developing formative assessments, teachers could consider what formative assessments are best to use for measuring student learning on EAL pathways.

Consider the most important changes. Set a goal for EAL student learning improvement to review at the end of the year. Short, medium, and long-term goals are appropriate.

Stage 3: develop and plan

Now that your school has priorities and goals, you can work on a plan to put them in place.

Stage 4: implement and monitor

Schools can trial their new curriculum plans in 2020, before the new EAL curriculum is mandated in 2021.

The implement and monitor stage will last longer than the other stages.

There are 2 main questions to answer at this stage:

  • Is the updated teaching and learning program aligned to the EAL curriculum?
  • Are EAL students showing learning growth?